South Korea - Overseas direct investments worth 23.8 trillion won in Korea last year, exceeded $20 billion for the first time according to officials in Seoul. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy reported that, foreign direct investments amounted to $20.91 billion last year, up 10 percent from 2014, to hit its highest ever level.

The leading investors, unsurprisingly, were the U.S.A and China with American investors shelling out some $5.48 billion, an increase of 51.8% from 2014 whilst the figure from China was worth $1.98 billion, an increase of 66.3 percent.

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Middle East investors recorded a hefty 514.1 percent increase in direct investment, thanks mainly to Dubai Investment Agency's takeover of Ssangyong Construction. However European and Japanese investment plunged sharply, by 61.6 percent and 33.1 percent, respectively, the ministry said. By type of investment, mergers and acquisitions fell 14.8 percent to $6.8 billion while "green-field investment" (into building factories) rose 28 percent to $14.1 billion. 

"We expect this year's foreign direct investment will also reach $20 billion if the global economy shows recovery, albeit slowly, and the effects of the free trade agreement with China takes effect in earnest," a ministry official said

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